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British Home Office Research Report

Men Suffer Equally from Domestic Violence

© 1999 by Bert H. Hoff


The British Home Office has issued a new research report that shows that men are equally likely to suffer from domestic violence. Here are excerpts from two news stories on it, and a link to the report itself. You can download an Adobe PDF format version of the 136-page report to see for yourself.

Men suffer equally on violence in the home
The Times 22/1/99

MEN are just as likely to be victims of domestic violence as women, according to the results of a Home Office survey issued yesterday. The research showed that 4.2 per cent of men and the same percentage of women said they were assaulted last year.

Male victims were likely to be under 25, working part-time and in households where there were financial difficulties. They may have had a long-term illness or disability. The women victims were also young and more at risk if they were at home with children or separated from their partners.

The research also said, however, that women were twice as likely to have been injured, three times more likely to have faced serious threats and were more likely to have been assaulted at least three times.

The study suggested that the risk of domestic violence was increasing and one reason might be that young people had more relationships, living with different partners.

The survey, based on the British Crime Survey for 1996, concluded there were 6.6 million incidents of domestic violence in 1995.

And here's the report from the Manchester Guardian:

Manchester Guardian
January 22, 1999

Both sexes equally likely to suffer domestic violence

Alan Travis Home Affairs Editor

MEN are increasingly the victims of domestic violence, and are just as likely as women to be assaulted by a partner, according to Home Office research published yesterday.

The men most likely to be attacked are in their early 30s and unmarried, but living with a woman. The findings, from the British Crime Survey, show there are some 6.6 million incidents of assault in the home each year, evenly split between men and women.

But the research also shows that women are twice as likely to be injured, and are much more likely to suffer repeated attacks. They are also less likely to be in a financial position to be able to leave a violent relationship.

It also shows that the rise in domestic attacks on men by women is a 1990s phenomenon. In 1995 just over 4 per cent of men and women said they had been assaulted by a current or former partner in the last year. But 23 per cent of women said they had been assaulted by a partner at some time - compared with 15 per cent of men.

Women are at greatest risk of attack after a relationship has broken up or they and their spouse have separated. The researchers say women have a different emotional reaction to separation, and are less likely to use violence to express their feelings: "Women's violence against men is, therefore, more likely to be within the context of an relationship."

The research was published as the Home Office Minister, Paul Boateng and the Leader of the Lords, Baroness Jay, launched Break the Chain, a domestic violence leaflet giving practical advice and listing telephone helplines, including a men's advice line.

"Domestic violence wrecks lives. Much of it is literally criminal," said Mr Boateng. "All of it is unacceptable. But a basic shift in attitudes is required. We must work towards the day when such conduct is universally recognised as reprehensible."

The study by Home Office researchers Catriona Mirrlees-Black and Carole Byron found that in most cases the violence involved pushing and grabbing, but in 47 per cent of incidents the victim was also kicked, slapped or punched. About half the attacks resulted in injury, most commonly bruising, but one in 10 involved cuts and a small minority broken bones.

Throwing things at each other happens in one in five cases, and in about a third of cases children in the home either witnessed the attack or were aware of it.

Only half of victims of domestic assault told anyone about it - normally a friend, neighbour or relative. The police were only told about 12 per cent of incidents.

For men and women, East Anglia has the highest level of domestic assault, followed by the North and Yorkshire/ Humberside. Assaults are below average in London and the South-east, and women in the East Midlands and men in Wales are at the lowest risk.

The full research report is available here in Adobe PDF format:
Domestic Violence: Home Office Research Study 191; HMSO


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